by Tom Utescher

The Norwood Fontbonne Academy softball squad, like other area teams, has seen its schedule rearranged by wet weather this spring, and on the first Monday of May the Bears took the field for only their second official game of the season.

Unfortunately, the locals have launched their 2011 campaign against two of their toughest opponents, starting out 0-2 after losing to Girls Catholic Academies League leader Waldron Mercy Academy and then falling to visiting Gwynedd Mercy Elementary last Monday, 15-10. GME improved to 4-1 overall, with its lone loss also coming at the hands of Waldron.

Each team used multiple pitchers during the game at Norwood, the hosts starting out with Grace Hogan while Gwynedd got going with Alana Hunt, who held the Bears scoreless for the first two innings while her team built up an 11-run lead.

The Mustangs connected for 10 hits in those two frames, and capitalized on a few Norwood errors, as well. The Bears had trouble hitting the visitors’ pitching and didn’t score in their first three turns at bat, although they did have a few players on base thanks to walks drawn by Eva McGrath (twice, in the clean-up spot), Eliza Ewing, Molly Creamer, and Markie Masucci.

Gwynedd had changed pitchers in the third inning, and Norwood began to get to the new hurler in the top of the fourth. Casey Lorimer led off with a walk and stole second, then scored the Bears’ first run thanks to a Gwynedd error on a ball put in play by Molly Creamer. Kara Celano got on through a fielders’ choice as the Mustangs failed to get the force-out at second base, then Mary Beth Bloomer bopped a single between first and second, scoring a run and getting Celano to second.

A sacrifice grounder by Nora Cipressi scored a third run for the hosts, then the remaining baserunner stole second before Colleen Clark drew a walk. The visitors scooped up an infield grounder off the bat of Bella Urie, but did not seem to know where to go with the ball. Score it fielder’s indifference, with another run scoring and NFA runners positioned on first and second.

They stole ahead to second and third before Gwynedd got the second out of the inning on a strike-out. Next McGrath sent a hit through the left side of the infield, and the ball had enough zip on it to get past the GME outfield, as well. McGrath came all the way around to score with two teammates ahead of her. A strike out ended the inning, but the score was now a more respectable 11-7.

Gwynedd reached its final total of 15 runs in the top of the sixth, getting just one hit in the four-run frame, but benefitting from five walks.

The Mustangs had control problems, too, as Norwood’s final turn at bat began with three straight walks to load the bases. Clark also waited out a base on balls, pushing home the Bears’ eighth run of the game. A strike-out still left the bases full, and back-to-back walks by McGrath and Molly Brown brought the tally to 15-10. A strike out and a pop-out ended the game with the Mustangs still five runs ahead.

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